"Porin" is Croatian equivalent of "Grammy" and this year a special award will be given to a cult album released in 1973. and constantly in print ever since. I have written about "Dnevnik jedne ljubavi" (Diary of one love) on this blog several times previously and it thrills me that 40 years after its original release it still creates excitement, inspires and lives on.
Since Croatia became independent country, what once used to be large music market of Ex-Yugoslavia had shrunk considerably - where musicians previously commanded attention and audiences across the territory that spread from Alps in the North (Slovenia) all the way down to border with Greece (Macedonia) and being superstar in those times meant your albums are played and admired widely trough different places, separation and independence of borders had drastically limited not only market but also influence. Today's stars and wannabes might be known only locally but hardly anybody will know about them across the border and vice versa. Now when Croatia, Serbia and all their neighbors are strictly separated, there are really just a handful of seriously big names who can perform everywhere, this is why Croatian "Porin" seems a bit self-congratulatory since it is a tiny market based on capitol and few provincial towns - every year it feels like choice for awards is a struggle because music activity is either live concert performances or compilations and re-issues.
Even without "Porin", creators of "Dnevnik" were highly esteemed and congratulated for decades: composer (late Karlo Metikoš) went on to collaborate with lyrics writer Ivica Krajač on two rock-operas, while singer Josipa Lisac continued from strength to strength ever since without ever seriously being challenged as our own Croatian Rock Queen. So even though it is nice that this album is recognized for its historical importance and awarded with special "Porin" as official masterpiece it always was, more than ever its obvious that nobody ever followed or dared to surpass this example even as inspiration - more than anything else, "Dnevnik" was all-star collaboration between the whole bunch of talented and enthusiastic musicians, something that apparently never happened again in a business overshadowed with egos, producers and financial speculations. Musicians still collaborate but on much smaller scales and hardly ever you have sense they play for the sheer joy of music as they played on "Dnevnik" that was created without any serious planning how to sell the product later - Metikoš was famously quoted as saying that he wrote it as something to be proud of, not thinking about sales. And this is why it stands tall as highly respected and yes, awesome masterpiece from start to finish, one of rare Croatian pieces of music that could have been recorded in San Francisco, Memphis or London, not our simple recording studios of Zagreb's "Jugoton".
Since Metikoš and Krajač put her on pedestal way back than, Josipa Lisac never really had a competition which in itself turned into a problem because she might have flourished differently if other girl singers showed little bit more ambition and imagination, so there would have been somebody to raise the bar of challenge. The way things turned out was that 99% of girl singers were almost without exception satisfied with soft crooning, cheesecake TV family entertainment (pop festivals and such) so Lisac - who was always highly individual and peculiar performer - became more and more isolated in her divadom, until now she seems like intimidating reminder that once, long ago we actually had seriously talented musicians instead of bunch of amateurs who are giving awards to each other. More than ever I feel sorry that she was not born elsewhere because she is and always was a singer of world's class, surrounded and crippled with mediocrity.